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Fallacies: Classical and Contemporary Readings

Cniversity of Windsor
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  • Criminology
  • Philosophy


Book Reviews/Comptes rendus 299 BOOK REVIEWS FALLACIES: CLASSICAL AND CONTEMPORARY READINGS Edited by Hans V. Hansen & Robert C. Pinto University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995. Pp. xi, 1-356. ISBN 0-271-01417-2 (paper). US$18. 95 (pa- per). Reviewed by Jim MacKenzie This anthology has two, not entirely congruent, purposes: to present a selection of the most important historical texts on fallacies, and to make some of the best post-Hamblin work on fallacies available in a single volume for the benefit of those in the field and also educators, philosopher, logicians, and teachers of com- munication and forensic science. The historical section skips from Aristotle straight to Arnauld & Nicole's Port-Royal Logic. Then we have the passage from Locke which introduced the names ad verecundiam, ad ignoratiam, ad hominem, and ad judicium, which is followed by extracts from Isaac Watts, Richard Whately, and John Stuart Mill's introduction of an explicit category of inductive fallacies. This list notably omits the Middle Ages. The omission is the more regrettable because an editorial note by Alexander Fraser to his nineteenth century edition ofthe Locke passage re- printed here (p. 55) says that appeals to human authority "in medieval reasoning had so much taken the place of a purely intellectual appeal". This comment does less than justice to the scholastics' knowledge of the Sophistical Refutations and its distinction between Didactic and other kinds of argument (ii, 165b 1). Medi- eval writers rejected arguments from authority in contexts where we should un- hesitatingly accept them: a gloss to the Graecismus of Eberhard of Bethune, one of the standard textbooks of the thirteenth century, reads: Since Priscian did not teach grammar by every possible means, the value of his books is greatly diminished. Thus he gives many constructions without assigning reasons for them, relying solely on the authority of the ancient grammarians. T

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